Lazy Budget Chef: January 2019

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

11 Quick and Easy Recipes that Save Money When You are Broke

My family’s cooking style evolved from the traditional American big hunk of meat main dish with little sides of vegetables and potatoes to a formula of lots of vegetables, a starch, and a protein as more of a condiment than the star of the dinner recipe show. We started with Asian flavored stir fry meals being heavily influenced by my trip to Japan and Hong Kong and grumbling bellies demanding a quick dinner ASAP after getting home from work.

We quickly learned that by just switching up the spices and often the starch (rice noodles like these cook in 5 minutes flat!,)  brown and white rice, regular and whole wheat pasta, sweet and white potatoes) we could travel the world through our dinner tables using the same main ingredients. Cheaply and healthy and getting a gold star from my doctor when I gave her my food diary. (Disclosure: I am including some affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)

Not to mention, just using a handful from several bags of fresh and frozen vegetables in a stir fry makes them last longer than dumping the whole bag in a pot and serving it as a side dish (although I still do that from time to time.) The same thing goes for meat – or if you’re running low on meat to make a full meal for a group you can always add beans, nuts, or tofu to bump up the protein content, serve it on a bed of rice, and Bob’s your uncle.

I accidentally started saving more money on our grocery bill when I started reading the weekly grocery sale flyers like a magazine each week and buying my fresh fruits and vegetables according to what is on sale which is - guess what! – shopping and cooking according to the national growing season and super cheap.



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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Mix and Match Instant Pot Minestrone Soup Recipe

The first meal I made in my Instant Pot was soup. (I am including affiliate links in this post for your convenience.)  It really hits the spot on a cold day and is a fantastic way to stretch your grocery budget by using up all of those little odds and ends in your kitchen cupboard that aren’t quite enough to eat as a full meal on their own.

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Making minestrone soup is the perfect recipe for that!

This minestrone soup recipe is very forgiving if you don’t have or don’t like to eat some of the ingredients I have listed here. Traditionally minestrone soup was made in Italy with in season summer vegetables. During the winter I usually have a cupboard full of dehydrated vegetables (the downside to having almost no longer term storage space in my freezer) that I forget to soak before I can cook with them, which makes using them for Instant Pot minestrone soup ideal – no soaking necessary!

The same goes with dried beans. Thanks to my lovely electric pressure cooker (you can find more affordable options here if the Instant Pot price is out of your budget range) I stopped buying canned beans as a backup. I pretty much never pre soak dried beans either. I just chuck them in the Instant Pot and let them pressure cook with the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.
The only exception to not pre soaking dried I’ve found to that is dried chickpeas. Soaking chickpeas in water first means I can use the 30 minute Bean setting once instead of twice.

How to Make a Cheap Eats Minestrone Soup Recipe